My research programme interrogates urban living and the politics of care, asking how cities can better support life and the practice of care through studies of housing systems and governance, urban planning and cultures of home. I am motivated by an interest in what makes cities liveable and am driven by concerns about the implications of growing urban and housing inequity, the residualisation of social welfare systems in western liberal welfare states and urban liveability in changing climates.

I live and work in Sydney’s western suburbs and Blue Mountains. These are places with lived experience of social difference, facing growing urban and economic development pressures, growing housing affordability challenges and the escalating impacts of climate change including urban heat and bushfire. Living here informs the work I do.

I am an urban cultural geographer in the Institute for Culture and Society and School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University.

My research is organised across three intersecting strands:

Cities of care – develops new insights into how the urban fabric, markets and governance processes configure the capacity to care in cities. In this work I conceptualise housing as an infrastructure of care and am concerned with how housing and welfare systems impact the ability of people to meet basic care needs. Research in this strand include the new ARC DP ‘Shadow Care Infrastructures: sustaining life in post-welfare cities’, ARC LP ‘The Social Value of Cooperative Housing’ and our collaborative ‘Cooling the Cities’ program. The ARC DECRA ‘Older Women at Risk’ was a platform for this program of work.

Cultures of home – develops knowledge of how housing and welfare governance impact on household activities including shaping housing security, household care practices including budgeting and ‘making ends meet’, and homemaking. Research in this strand includes the ARC LP ‘The Social Value of Cooperative Housing’, the ARC DECRA ‘Older Women at Risk’ and the AHURI funded ‘Housing and housing-assistance pathways with companion animals’.

Companion animals and cities – a long running program of research investigates the important bond that people share with their companion animals. My work investigates how the relationship between people and their pets takes shape across a range of housing and urban contexts. This work has been advanced across a number of grants and collaborations, including most recently the AHURI funded ‘Housing and housing-assistance pathways with companion animals’.

I am Editor of the International Journal of Housing Policy and a co-founder of the Housing Journal Podcast.

I hold an Honours degree in Social Science, Graduate Diploma in Education and PhD in Human Geography. I served as Vice President of the Geographical Society of NSW (2012-2016) and Board Member at the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales (2012-2016).

 

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